7 quirky cafés in Dubai
You may know your light roasts from your dark roasts but if you think you know all the coffee spots in Dubai like the back of your hand then you may be in for a surprise. Right under your nose, there are myriad little-known cafés waiting to be discovered in the most unexpected places. Open your eyes and you’ll find secret coffee shops taking refuge in the most unusual spaces, from garden centres and art galleries to motorcycle workshops. Remember, something isn’t always what it seems.
Custom motorcycles and specialty coffee may not traditionally go hand-in-hand but at Café Rider it seems to work. This motorbike workshop-meets-coffee shop in the heart of Al Quoz is one of Dubai’s quirkiest venues, a place where you can check out the latest two-wheeled supermodels and watch mechanics work on custom-builds as you sip on a cup of organic coffee from the best local and international roasters. And if the need for speed strikes, you wouldn’t be the first person to go in for a latte and walk out with a Chopper.
Where: Al Quoz
The Roseleaf Café
From the entrance, Dubai Garden Centre looks like any other gardening store. Trellises, collapsible furniture, urns… the usual. But behind the shelves of tools and seeds lies a coffeeshop known only by those who have ever spent their weekends looking for weedkiller. The Roseleaf Café, though, is worth digging out, with its seasonal single-origin coffees and premium whole-leaf teas served in vintage china cups. If you’re peckish, snack on manager Rose’s menu of delicious homemade soups, wholesome sandwiches and healthy salads.
Where: Dubai Garden Centre, Al Quoz
Book Munch Café
For bibliophiles, there’s nothing more relaxing better than a hot drink and a good book to bury your nose into. That was the idea when a café was opened alongside the Book Munch Bookshop. After exploring shelves of fiction and non-fiction for their preferred slice of literary magic, book lovers can recline in the café and enjoy coffee, tea, mocktails and homemade ice tea. The café also serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and a hearty selection of sweet treats for those who lose track of time, plus picnic baskets complete with rugs for those who’d rather recline on the grass in the nearby Safa Park.
Where: Al Wasl Square, Jumeirah
Sketch Art Café
When it opened in 2003, Marsam Mattar quickly became known as one of Satwa’s most innovative art galleries. The space, which was founded by Emirati artist Matar Bin Lahej, showcases work by artists from across the Arab world and now it boasts an extra special surprise. The gallery is home to a new coffee shop, appropriately named Sketch Art Café, where guests can enjoy art-themed snacks and beverages while they browse that latest collections.
Where: Al Wasl Road
One Café Dubai
In the middle of Jumeirah lies a villa that houses a one-of-a-kind life center called Life’nOne. A welcome escape from the city, this hippie-esque retreat offers a multitude of yoga and meditation classes plus pilates, capoeira, barre sessions and holistic lifestyle therapies. Unbeknown to most, Life’nOne also has café serving gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free snacks and treats. Enjoy wholesome meals, salads and raw vegan platters washed down with organic fresh juices, energising wheatgrass blends and fair-trade coffees and teas. Pre-order before a class and it will be waiting when you’ve said ‘namaste’.
Where: Jumeirah 1
Art House Café
Describing themselves as a place where art meets food, this quaint spot opposite Boxpark will make you fall in love with it instantly. If the food or bright crockery doesn’t grab your attention, the artsy interiors will – picture yourself seated on a colourful chair, at sewing machine styled table with tea cups acting as chandeliers. In short, it will do wonders for your Instagram.
Where: Al Wasl Road
Feline fans assemble because this café promises the purr-fect day out. It’s the city and the region’s first cat café. You’ll be surrounded by the fluffy four-legged beings while you sip on your cup of coffee. However, there’s an entry fee of AED30 which includes a beverage (water, soda or tea) to cover the costs of maintaining the kitties.
Where: Umm Suqeim 2